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Okay, family meeting time.

October 6, 2011

Olan Mills, you've outdone yourself this time.

Don’t worry.  I’m not here to stage an intervention.  Although, you have been slacking lately and I’d appreciate it if you’d remove your shoes at the front door. 

I don’t want to be too assuming here in where we are in our relationship, but I think it’s time you met my family.  I mean it.  You should.  I write about them often and I want to help you better visualize them. 

Have you ever done some weird thing your whole life thinking everyone does it that way and then one day someone tells you that no one does it that way, causing you to reevaluate the way you were doing it before?  I can tell I’m losing you.

My husband is a reader.  He has probably read his way through a small library by now.  I on the other hand only dabble in reading.  I just lost your respect there, didn’t I.    

So one day I was telling my husband about how when I read a novel I absolutely must do an internal casting call of famous Hollywood actors to play the parts of the book characters.  That way I can create a visual image of the storyline. 

“That is so weird that you do that.  I’ve never heard of that in my life.  Are you joking?” 

My husband got his Master’s degree in creative writing.  He used to spend loads of time with very intense readers.  Intense.  Readers.  So the “I’ve never heard of that in my life” cut right to the bone.

I, however, refuse to believe that no one else does this.  And I’m frankly worried that those who do have by now cast my mother as Florence Henderson and my father as Alan Thicke.  (Or perhaps that is how I would’ve liked to cast them.)

So let’s do a quick rundown of the cast of characters in my blog.

This is my mom circa 1980. 

This photo captures her amazing ability to make anyone feel wonderful about anything, including after they just gave her a cookie jar shaped like a cremation urn.  Or a pewter cat the size of a thimble.  (I couldn’t afford the giraffe.)  Or when she’s forced into managing The Marcia Archives until she breaks down and leaves the box on my front step (tires squeal away). 

This is my dad circa 1983 with just a touch of Magnum, P.I.  He’s always been Mr. Handy Man. 

Which will help explain why he later quit his corporate job, uprooted my family and moved us to a small town so he could live out his dream of owning a hardware store. 

I think I was supposed to be on this parade float.  I think I faked an illness.  Or I probably contracted a stress-induced one.  (Best punishment for a junior high kid?  Force them onto a parade float with their parents.)

This is my brother in present date.  Hahahaha.  No, this is circa 1993.  He’s an artist.  And he’d want me to tell you he doesn’t have a mullet anymore.  But the superhero posters in the background?  They’ve probably multiplied. 

My former partner-in-crime, my best friend from childhood, Katie.  Better known as The Biter.

This is my family’s old TV.  This is an important thing to cast in my blog.  It was practically a whole person in my childhood.  A person who let me stay up way too late watching Eddie Murphy play Gumby on Saturday Night Live.  Or episodes of Falcon Crest and Dallas and Hotel and Dynasty.  Or the movie The Jerk, though network-censored so that Sh*thead-the-dog’s name was Stupid.  This is also my brother’s bottom.  (Tell me, on the TV, is that Marlon Brando with a Shar Pei on his shoulder?)

Another object that is worth casting.  My parent’s punishment of choice.  I know my mom just about choked on her steel-cut Irish oatmeal when she read this, so please know I’m not serious. 

No, they preferred the rack.

These are my children.  Okay, not really.  But they’re my former children.  (Am I the only one who took pictures of their toys as a kid?  Lame-o.)

Oh, it seems I’m not.  My husband said I could use this photo so long as I didn’t tell you that it’s his.  I didn’t, did I? 

This caused an internal battle for me here.  Should I show you how remarkably beautiful my offspring are, proving that I carry the coveted “adorable children gene” and thus compensating for my own physical shortcomings?  Or . . . save their images from being ripped off and used in a fruity rice cereal advertisement in Japan?  For once, my ego lost out.

This is my husband.  With a ghost hanging behind his ear.  Who looks just a bit like Clark Kent when he wears glasses (my husband, not the ghost . . . although the right frames can make anyone look like Clark Kent).  Those are my birds and false eyelashes attacking his shoulder.


This is me in my most awkward era and in my worst perm ever.  You’ve already seen me.  Maybe not quite this awkward though. 

But you haven’t seen me after I overcame my extreme awkwardness. 

Okay, still some tinges of awkwardness.  So, while I don’t want to micromanage you, please instead cast me as her. 

Yes, I would appreciate that, thank-you-very-much. 

I’m so glad we had this talk.  I think it’s helped us to grow in our relationship.  Now, let’s try to do better from here on out.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Troy permalink
    October 6, 2011 12:11 pm

    the TV on that rickety stand looks dangerous!

    • October 6, 2011 12:27 pm

      Oh, that’s not the first time my brother and I narrowly avoided fatal injury. Seatbelts, what are those?

  2. October 6, 2011 12:22 pm

    When I watched the edited version of The Jerk they called the dog ‘Stupid’. Can there be TWO edited versions? How is that possible??

    That shot of me at the drawing desk was a completly staged. I never did any artwork at NTV. Mostly I ran the tele-prompter or cameras for the morning show and tried not to accidentally get in the shot.

    (btw, how could you show my bum? I’m so embarrassed…)

    • October 6, 2011 1:19 pm

      Upon further investigation, I think you’re right on that. “Stupid.” I have made an update to reflect this fact-check. As if networks would even allow “Crappy” back then.

  3. October 6, 2011 2:01 pm

    Hi Angie,

    I didn’t want you to feel so alone with the “Characters casting call.” I was a movie buff, way before I was a reader, reading is passion that came later in life. I don’t always cast with A-list actors, sometimes they are people in my life Past-Present. So when I read you were questioning this practice, I thought “That is not weird at all, whoever said it was weird is… weird.” Wow ran that word into the ground.

    And you cast as the very stylish and talented Audrey Hepburn, I can live with that. Keep up the good work and have fun.

    • October 6, 2011 2:50 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment! You made me feel much better. I should clarify that they’re not always A-list red carpet actors. I think Wilford Brimley and Pam Dawber have been cast in a few books I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve tried using people from my real life. Good idea.

      I’ll make sure my husband reads your kind validation.

  4. Lori permalink
    October 6, 2011 6:21 pm

    Angie, I always envision the characters in the books I read with a ‘cast’ from my pick of actors. You’re not alone, my dear.

  5. October 6, 2011 9:04 pm

    Terrific post, and I always dreamt that Audrey Hepburn would play me!

  6. October 7, 2011 6:42 am

    Ah…the 1980s….what a glorious time to grow up.

    I too have a picture of me with a perm. I was heavenly…braces, permed hair, acid-washed jean skirt, 10 pounds overweight. No, not the slightest bit awkward. No sir.

    In fact, I still look the same exact way.

    • October 7, 2011 1:59 pm

      Ah yes, the acid-washed denim! And I would’ve appreciated being 10 pounds overweight as opposed to sporting the 60-pound Tiny Tim “no soup for you” androgynous look.

  7. Timoree permalink
    October 7, 2011 2:34 pm

    I always cast people in my head, in fact I get quite upset when they decide to make a movie out of a book and the casting doesn’t match what I have done in my head. I’ve been known to boycott the movie altogther. For instance, when Hugh Grant was cast in the movie, “About a Boy” over John Cusack I seriously almost lost it. But then again, I have been known to boycott anything involving Kirsten Dunst and her creepy, tiny, pearl painted teeth. So I am not sure what that says about my principles and or maturity regarding hollywood cinema.

    • October 7, 2011 8:45 pm

      Wow, I so loved Hugh Grant in that movie (one of my favorite flicks, by the way) but, had I read the book, I could definitely see myself casting John Cusack in that role. (C’mon, Nick Hornby! He was magical in High Fidelity. Don’t go with a damn Brit!)

  8. October 13, 2011 4:19 pm

    OMG I want your Mom’s beer mug.

    • October 13, 2011 4:53 pm

      Haha! You’re so right about that. I never even noticed that it was actually a giant German stein (turned cookie jar). Maybe that’s why the guy looked at me funny when I bought it at the store at age 7.

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